People participate in a protest to demand an end to anti-Asian violence in New York City, on April 4, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

Hate crimes in New York City have increased in the first quarter of this year, sparked by a dramatic increase in incidents against Asian Americans and scores of crimes against Jews, according to the New York Police Department.

The NYPD released numbers on Monday showing that 180 hate crimes occurred from Jan 1 to May 2, an increase of 73 percent from 104 in the same period in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Asians were targeted in 80 hate crimes, the highest number of such incidents. There were 16 hate crimes against Asian Americans during the same period last year, the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force said.

Hate crimes targeting Jewish people were the second-highest behind anti-Asian incidents, with 54 reported from the beginning of the year until May 2, down from 58 such crimes in 2020.

During the period, 78 arrests were made, up 160 percent from 30 in the same period last year, according to the Journal.

Police officials have said that the true number of hate crimes in the city is probably higher because many such crimes go unreported.

In the latest of what the Hate Crime Task Force is investigating as a possible hate crime,

Police said Tuesday that they are searching for a woman who on Sunday night near Times Square demanded that two Asian women remove their face masks and then attacked one of them with a hammer.

“She was talking to herself. I thought maybe she was drunk or something, so we just wanted to pass her quickly,” the 31-year-old victim, who was identified only as Theresa, told ABC-TV. “When I passed her, suddenly I felt my head get hit by something.”

Theresa was rushed to a hospital, where she needed stitches for a gash to her forehead and another cut on her head, according to ABC. The other woman, 29, didn’t appear to suffer any injuries, according to authorities.

“My mom actually told me, ‘Please be careful, there’s a lot of Asian crime happening in America,'” Theresa said. The recent graduate of Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology said she plans to go back to Taiwan now. If the right job comes along, she said, she will move back to New York when it is safer.

“I am disgusted by this violent attack in Midtown Manhattan, the latest seemingly senseless and despicable hate crime against Asian Americans in this state,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Tuesday. “We will do everything in our power to protect those who are vulnerable to these attacks and to hold cowardly perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Hundreds of New Yorkers gathered at a rally in predominantly Asian-populated Flushing, Queens, on Sunday, denouncing the wave of hate crimes against Asian-American communities.

“If you hate, get the hell out of here because you don’t deserve to live in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the rally.